Re:The difference between a human and a rock

From: Hal Ruhl <>
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 19:56:18 -0400

Hi Eric:

At 03:03 AM 4/17/2004, you wrote:
>How does a human differ in kind from a rock?
>-Well both are well modelled as being "slow processes" (i.e. localized
>states and events) in spacetime.
>- A process is a particular kind of "pattern of organization" of some
>subregion of spacetime.
>- We share being made of similar kinds of matter particles that stay close
>to each other in spacetime for
>some finite time period, and some finite spatial extent.

I am trying to stay at the level of the cells. Particles and spacetime
would be emergent interpretations of the activity at the cell
level. "Activity" as stated in earlier posts is a consequent of the effort
to construct the system only from cf-counterfactuals.

>Oh, but you said "how do we differ?"
>Well, a human roganism is a sub-unit of a longer-lived "species" pattern
>within an "organic emergent system eco-system"
>A rock does not appear to have that much complexity of form and
>autopoietic function.

Size, duration, and complexity are not a difference of kind in my
description, but rather one of degree.

Neither autopoietic nor sympoietic seems to fit well as an adjective here
as near as I can tell. As to reproduction dances that are rocks shed small
dances [sand and clay] that under the right progression become rocks again
- dances that are humans do the same.

>A rock is one of those kind of local spacetime patterns or systems that
>"doesn't have much choice about how it is."

The unit of a dance is that a cell polls its nearest neighbors and the
result determines its next state. While some patterns and rules may
result in larger scale emergent coordinations I do not see that "choice"
can emerge.

>The laws of physics, and the nature of the rock's components and the
>thermodynamics of its vicinity are such that it
>pretty much collects into how it's going to be at some time, then is
>physically constrained to stay just that way,
>at macro scales anyhow, for a long period of time. Of course, being a big
>physical process pattern subject to
>the laws of thermodynamics, it is, actually, changing, and usually
>dissipating (disorganizing), just very, very slowly.

Physics is just emergent from the unit of the dance.


Dances can shed and absorb smaller dances. This process changes
dances. It can cause dances to shift towards or away from another dance
that is shedding dances. It can sustain or terminate dances.

I see nothing in the rest of your post that makes my believe there is a
difference of kind between rocks and humans.


Received on Sat Apr 17 2004 - 19:59:06 PDT

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